It is important to have your blood pressure measured regularly. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as it circulates through the body and is measured in millimeters of mercury, shown as 120/80 (this is read as 120 over 80.)
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure is usually measured at a doctor’s office or pharmacy, but a blood pressure check can be offered in other places as well. The provider will wrap a cuff around your upper arm and inflate it by pumping a bulb until the cuff feels tight around the arm. Then, the pressure will start to fall, and the first number is recorded. This is the systolic pressure, and it reflects the force with which the blood hits the walls of the arteries. As the air continues to be let out, the second number is recorded. This is the diastolic pressure, and it reflects the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxed. High blood pressure, or hypertension, happens when the blood flows through blood vessels at higher than normal pressure (140/90 or higher).
Why is high blood pressure dangerous?
High blood pressure creates an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and other illnesses. What makes it especially dangerous is that you may not be aware of the high blood pressure since there are no symptoms, which is why it is called the “silent killer.”
Blood pressure rises with age and it affects 3 out of 4 people aged 75 and older.
How to deal with it?
If you have high blood pressure, make sure that you are under a doctor’s care. There are many things you can do lower your blood pressure, which your doctor will cover with you. Some of these tips are:
♥Follow a heart-healthy diet. Include lots of fruits and vegetables and avoid animal fats, excess sugar and sodium.
♥Exercise regularly. Walking is an excellent exercise, as it is easy on the joints and can be done almost anywhere.
♥Don’t smoke and limit alcohol use.
♥Limit your caffeine use to one or two cups early in the day.
♥Manage stress, by doing things that you enjoy and which relax you, such as listening to music, playing with your pets, doing yoga or meditating.
♥Monitor your blood pressure regularly.
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